The pragmatic financial expert

Photo for representation.

There can never be a contest for the best mother in the world, each one has unique and infinite knowledge to bequeath on her offspring. My mother was the epitome of financial discipline, the basics of which she taught us kids among many other things at a very early age. Her unflinching beliefs that drops of water made an ocean and a penny saved is a penny earned were etched in our house. She worked almost 24 hours a day within the precinct of the house. Even though she was not in an office, she was able to generate an income.

From the days of my childhood, I remember my mother promptly depositing money after selling old newspapers in a bank account. The Dakshina (offering) she received from the traditional exchange of tambula (coconut & betel leaves) was deposited too. She would sometimes issue a tenner to spend but sought reimbursement from my father, which she then promptly deposited. Any surplus from a bargain was saved, she quoted an amount smaller than she had actually spent, the surplus was accumulated for a later deposit. She had money saved for a rainy day in several jars in the kitchen. No wonder my dad teasingly referred to her as our ‘home ATM.’

An auto was beckoned for a quick commute only when she valued swiftness over convenience. She easily discerned needs from the wants. She refrained from bingeing in the middle of festival shopping; a trait that she imparted onto her fellow family members. She found the right options to multiply her investment. She also remembered to spread her investments across institutions, including her two sons, with precision that shamed ‘Six Sigma.’

However, nothing stopped her from being the ‘giver’ when the situation demanded it. She contributed a steady monthly sum to those who positioned themselves outside the neighbourhood temple. For all milestone birthdays and anniversary events within her circle, she handed an envelope , converse to her philosophy on spending.

The icing on the cake was when she stepped into her 75th year. The savings that she had accumulated over a lifetime, were equally distributed to her two sons and the rest of our family. We were left aghast at the corpus amount that she had saved quietly, without ever earning a penny. My father who had served a nationalized bank for well over three decades watched perplexed! She was financial prudence personified and implemented it with practicality. Today’s ‘spend-what-you-earn generation’ will do well to live in her example. I confer her with a ‘best mother’ award in the category of financial prudence and pray to God that she has passed onto me a share of her prudence!

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